Urinary tract infections are highly common among women and they affect 50% of the female population at least once in their lifetime, as reported by the World Health Organization. The UTI treatment is expensive and the infection itself is extremely painful.
According to a report published in 2011 by the WHO, UTI caused nearly one million hospitalizations. Also these infections caused 8 million visits to the doctors. This data shows the high prevalence of these infections. Moreover, the treatment costs $1 billion every year.
A recent study found that most of the doctors prescribed the wrong medication to a huge number of people diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. Out of 670,400 individuals, almost half of them took the wrong antibiotics to treat their infection. Moreover, at least three-quarters of these females took the antibiotics longer than necessary. The study also mentioned that this pattern appeared more frequently in rural areas.
The findings of this study appeared recently in the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
Antibiotic resistance is becoming more prevalent due to the overuse and over prescription of these drugs. Moreover, in the US alone, at least one person dies every 15 minutes due to an antibiotic-resistant infection.
According to the lead author of this study, Anne Mobley Butler, the growing number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for UTI treatment can cause serious consequences for the patient and the society. She also mentioned that patients overcome the infection better when doctors prescribe narrow-spectrum antibiotics instead of broad-spectrum ones. Moreover, a shorter duration of the antibiotic course helps get rid of the infection better.
Butler also mentioned that this pattern causes antibiotic resistance in the case of many infections. Overuse of antibiotics also causes natural microbiome disruption and unavoidable consequences.
Urinary tract infections are common among men and women and can happen at any age. However, more females experience these infections who have short urethras. A smaller urethra is more close to the rectum due to which the bacteria travel to the urinary tract easily.
The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that women who do not urinate after intercourse with a new sexual partner have a greater chance to contract a urinary tract infection. Some other risk factors of a UTI include having a history of such infections, menopause, change in the microbiome of the vagina, and pregnancy.
Anyone can contract a UTI at any age due to several factors. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection include painful and frequent urination, blood in the urine, and cramps in the lower belly area. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, experts recommend a urine test to identify the source of the infection. A UTI is a bacterial infection and doctors prescribe antibiotics for the treatment.
According to the CDC, urinary tract infections are preventable with frequent urination and drinking adequate amounts of water. Moreover, taking a shower instead of a bath also helps prevent such infections. Also, the hack to prevent a urinary tract infection with the help of cranberry juice proved wrong in past studies.